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CAN’T SELL MORE APPLES? JUST RESTOCK THE SHELVES

At least that’s what Ben Bernanke believes.  His consistent tinkering with monetary policy has failed to generate a resurgence in demand for loans, yet he believes he can sell more loans if he gives the banks more reserves.  This is as insane as the apple salesman convincing himself that he can sell more apples if he puts more on the shelves.  Nonetheless, a lot of wise investors continue to cheer this non-event (via WSJ):

“The U.S. Federal Reserve could announce a new program of asset purchases to support a weak economy as early as November, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

“We don’t expect this at the Sept. 21 meeting, but in November or December there’s certainly a possibility that it will be announced,” Jan Hatzius, chief economist at the bank, said Tuesday. He added the Fed is likely to buy U.S. Treasurys worth around $1.0 trillion to kick-start the economy.

To fight the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the Fed bought $1.7 trillion in mainly mortgage-backed securities, a move that helped to keep mortgage and other long-term borrowing rates low. That program ended in March. But with the recovery slowing, the Fed said Aug. 10 that it would reinvest the proceeds of mortgage bonds into U.S. Treasurys to prevent its portfolio of securities from shrinking. The question now is whether the central bank will start a new program of asset purchases that would increase the size of its $2.0 trillion balance sheet further.

Goldman Sachs expects this to happen soon given the weakness in the U.S. economy as a result of lower business inventory accumulation and a fading fiscal stimulus. The bank expects the U.S. unemployment rate to creep back up to 10% by early 2011 from 9.6% in August and to stay around that level for most of the year.”

Source: WSJ

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